Letter from Rachel

When I first started thinking about writing something to share about Lauren, I was flooded with so many memories from our years of friendship. Lauren always teased me about having a memory like a steel trap, but right now I’m grateful for that fact. Call me the Library of Lauren. But when it came time to select some of those stories to share with all of you, I found that I couldn’t narrow it down. I wanted something that defined Lauren, all the many elements of her, and realized that was an impossible task. Lauren was wonderfully complex: she was generous, thoughtful, so smart, strong, adventurous, sassy, absentminded, elegant, fun, loyal…just a magical, wonderful person. So, I gave up on my quest to find the perfect Lauren story and decided instead to share my feelings about Lauren and our friendship. So with that…

Lauren was and still is my best friend. Over the last fourteen years, our friendship had come to mean so much to both of us. I’ve been struggling with how to define our friendship without being trite. I actually found some inspiration from a card Lauren wrote me last year for my birthday. She said, “I love that we laugh at the same things, cry together over each other’s trials, talk talk talk about whatever, and just love each other.” What a great start. I would also add how much fun we had together. All it would take was for us to make eye contact at the right moment and we could end up laughing to the point of crying, about something that probably only seemed funny to the two of us. I also want to say how comfortable our friendship was. Words weren’t necessary to know what was in the others’ heart. There was just a great sense of ease together, like we knew all there was to know and loved each other anyway. There was nothing to prove, no need to impress. Lauren and I both felt this level of friendship was a rare and special thing to find in life, and definitely planned to hold on to it forever.

I guess that’s why now I feel such a deep sense of loneliness at the thought of Lauren’s passing. It hurts to think about the moments big and small that I won’t be able to share with Lauren, from the birth of my baby girl to sharing an inside joke and a raised eyebrow with someone who really “gets it”. Mostly I just long to see her again and tell her I love her one more time.

My biggest comfort right now is the knowledge that you never truly lose someone with which you have shared such an amazing connection—she lives in my heart now. Not only has Lauren influenced the very person that I am, but I know I will always find a resonance of Lauren in the world around me. About a million things remind me of Lauren: travel shows, the fleur de lis symbol, historical fiction books, horses, anything British or French, fairies, le Petit Prince, I could go on forever. My point is that after the incredible grief and sadness I’m feeling fade away, I know that I will be left with a sense of joy and peace. Those little moments that remind me of Lauren will be treasures for me and I will be filled with gratitude to have had such a special person in my life.

I want to end with a passage from “The Little Prince”, one of our favorite books. In the story, a Prince from a faraway star comes to earth and befriends a man who is lost in the desert. At the end of the book, the Little Prince must return to his star, leaving the man behind. In the following passage, the Prince attempts to comfort the man in anticipation of his loss. I find that these words speak to my heart in a new way now:

“At night you will look up at the stars. Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found. It is better, like that. My star will be just one of the stars, for you. And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens…They will all be your friends…You–you alone–will have stars as no one else has them–In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You–only-you–will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure…And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, “Yes, the stars always make me laugh!”…It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh…”